Chicago wiseguy Rocky LaMantia died at 59 years old last week, his name forever tied to the killing of his high school sweetheart Martha DiCaro in 1979 and just a few years removed from serving a prison sentence for being the wheelman in the armed robbery of a pawn shop. LaMantia, a multiple-time convicted felon and the son of former Chicago mob lieutenant, Joe (Shorty) LaMantia, was found not guilty in DiCaro’s slaying in a controversial bench trial.

DiCaro, 20, was shot to death inside the LaMantia family home on the Southside of Chicago on the evening of May 6, 1979. The younger LaMantia painted the shooting to authorities as an accident. The couple had dated for five years and state prosecutors claimed DiCaro had gone to see LaMantia that night to breakup with him and the ensuing argument ended in LaMantia shooting her with his father’s gun in a vengeful rage. The gun that shot and killed Martha DiCaro has never been recovered and rumors remain that the trial was fixed.

Shorty LaMantia belonged to the Chicago Outfit’s Chinatown crew, overseeing a series of bookmaking and burglary rings for Southside mafia captain Angelo (The Hook) LaPietra. He passed away peacefully in 2002. Shorty’s elder adopted son Aldo (Junior) Piscitelli died of natural cause four years ago. LaPietra died of natural causes in 1999 following a brief stint as the crime family’s consigliere.

Both LaMantias were implicated in the City of Chicago’s Hired Truck Scandal of the early 2000s. Rocky LaMantia’s Dialex Trucking Company cleared more than a million bucks in city contracts in less than five years (1999-2002). Lori LaMantia, Rocky’s wife, held a job in City Hall (she’s never been implicated in any wrongdoing).

Joe “Shorty” LaMantia

In 2008, Rocky LaMantia was convicted of being the getaway driver in the armed robbery of a Southside pawn shop which yielded almost $200,000 in cash and valuables. Smacked with a six-year state prison sentence, he walked free in 2013. His arrest sheet listed busts for drugs, burglary and weapons violations too.

Prior to being collared in the armed robbery in the late fall of 2007, he had publically floated the idea of writing a book. Chicago Crime Commission records link LaMantia to current reputed Southside Outfit capo Frank (Tootsie) Caruso. The Caruso family’s Chinatown mob reign dates back well over a half century. Sarah LaMantia, Rocky’s sister, married into the Caruso family.

Rocky LaMantia’s 1979 murder trial was held in front of disgraced Cook County Judge Thomas J. Maloney, booted from the bench for taking bribes years later. Maloney, linked by informants to a string of mobsters, gangsters and their associates, was indicted in 1991 and served more than a decade behind bars for fixing three state murder cases.

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